& His World

Course Description

This course explores the cultural context of and future cultural uses for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.


Grade Breakdown

  1. Reading Journal (20%)
  2. Compare & Contrast: Vampyre & Frankenstein (25%)
  3. Revision: Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein (25%)
  4. Frankenstein on Film (15%)
  5. Frankenstein's Monster (15%)

Reading Journal

In this weekly journal, you will write around a 1-page (300 word) entry for each week of the class (for a total of 7 entries), exploring your thoughts, feelings, and interests in the stories read for that week (or other entries). These need to be substantial and get beyond the "I liked this reading because it was good" style. I want to hear about you engaging with these readings. How you choose to do that, though, is up to you.

You will create a blog on our course's Blackboard site and post each journal entry as a post on your blog. You will not upload a Word document for each post but will instead post the content of your journal entry in the body of the post.

Compare & Contrast: Vampyre & Frankenstein

Both Polidori's The Vampyre and Shelley's Frankenstein emerge from a contest amongst friends to produce a ghost story. The first, and perhaps most obvious, observation is that neither of these stories conform to the protocols of a "ghost" story. Instead, they inaugurate two of the major currents of contemporary horror and science fiction: the ageless vampire and the amok scientific creation. Both are iconic monsters, both emerged from the same circumstances, and yet both are very different.

In this paper, you will analyze similarities and differences you see existing between these two works. Given our discussion of the historical circumstances (ecological catastrophe) and your own reading of both novels, what do you see them having in common? What do they do differently? In a 6 page, thesis-driven paper, discuss the similarities and differences between these two works.

Revision: Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein

For this assignment, you will complete two items:

  1. Revising Frankenstein—Given your reading of both Shelley's novel and Peake's play, what do you think are the most important changes from the novel to the play? Why do you think Peake made them? Discuss your answer to these two questions in a 2-3 page paper.
  2. Contemporary Frankenstein—We've discussed how Peake had to adapt Shelley's novel to downplay some of the seemingly subversive elements of the novel while continuing to play into the central "Frankenstein myth." In writing the play, while downplaying the atheistic implications of Shelley's creation narrative, Peake still provides a moral lesson about the limits of science. If you were adapting Frankenstein for a contemporary audience, how would you do so? Discuss your adaptation of the novel, including what medium you would use (film, novel, TV show, play, social media feed, etc.), how you would stage it, and what elements you would retain or revise. Discuss these elements of your adaptation—crucially making sure to explain why you are making your choices—in a 5-6 page paper or a multimedia presentation (text and images), if that makes your job easier for you.

Frankenstein on Film

Find a version of Frankenstein on film that we are not watching for this class and discuss it's conformation to the myth, as we've seen it established. Additionally, if the work deviates from the pattern of Frankenstein, discuss why.

Possible Topics:



If there's something you'd like to work that you don't see here, please contact me and propose your topic.

Frankenstein's Monster

Discuss the usage of the term "Frankenstein's monster" in a contemporary science discussion.

Topics include:

Feel free to propose another topic that interests you or is relevant to your field of study.

How well do these discussions conform to the Frankenstein myth?